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Drought measures extended into October in south-east France

Restrictions are being maintained as the ‘crisis’ continues in Alpes-Maritimes. It comes as Nice breaks its ‘tropical’ night record

A photo of a very low body of water in France

Drought conditions continue in some parts of France, with restrictions still in place amid record temperatures in the southeast Pic: MeloDPhoto / Shutterstock

Authorities in south-east France are to extend anti-drought measures until at least mid-October, they have said, with a continued ban on activities such as watering the garden as the ‘crisis’ level alert remains.

Measures are set to stay in place until at least October, the Alpes-Maritimes departmental authorities have said, due to “largely rainfall deficiency” over the past month (35% less than the September average).

In a statement, the prefecture said: “The localised rainfall in August temporarily eased the levels of certain surface rivers, but did not allow the underlying trend to be reversed in the long term.”

The river basins of Estéron, Artuby, Brague, Paillons, Roya/Bévéra, Siagne upstream, Loup, and Cagne remain at ‘crisis’ level, the prefecture said. This requires the most severe restrictions for the time being, including bans on: 

  • Watering gardens

  • Refilling swimming pools

  • Water games

The prefecture said that only the basins in the Var department have seen significant improvement.

It comes as Météo-France said that October 2022 is expected to be generally warmer than average for the season.

As a result of the dry conditions and warm temperatures, the risk of wildfires also remains high, authorities said. 

Access to two forest areas is currently banned in the west of Alpes-Maritimes, with particular surveillance centering on the Col de Tende, where a bush fire had threatened to damage several hectares.

Read more: Thousands evacuated as wildfires rage in southwestern France
Read more: France prepares for 10-day heatwave, wildfire risk increases

‘Tropical’ night record for Nice

Similarly, the city of Nice has now broken its record of the number of ‘tropical’ nights (in terms of temperature) for the year 2022, with 104 such nights recorded since the start of the year.

‘Tropical’ nights are those on which the temperature did not drop below 20C. The 2022 record breaks the 2018 level, when 93 tropical nights were recorded. It is the first time that the 100-night threshold has been breached.

The summer, from June 30 to September 4, was particularly hot, with no fewer than 66 consecutive ‘tropical nights’. The previous record went back to 2016, when 58 consecutive nights were recorded. 

Temperatures in Nice are still high for the season, reaching 32C on some days. This is far higher than the 20C seasonal average.

However, this weekend, intense storms and rainfall are forecast in the southwest, moving to the southeast by Monday (September 26). 

Related articles

Storms and rain in new ‘Mediterranean episode’ in France this weekend

Drought map: See what water restrictions apply in your department

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